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In recent years, there has been a growing interest in adopting water-based systems in organic synthesis as a more environmentally friendly alternative to organic solvents. However, despite advances in the fields of micellar systems and artificial enzymes, there are still many challenges, such as limitations in catalytic activity, reaction scope, and solubility of organic molecules. Resolving these issues is crucial to fully realize the potential of this approach.
Inspired by biological systems, our research is focused on developing a novel pH-responsive system for organocatalysis in water, featuring a modular design. This design allows for both a broad range of reactions and reaction selectivity. The tubular architecture will be constructed utilizing a supramolecular approach, incorporating pH-responsiveness and interchangeable catalytic functionality within a hydrophobic cavity.
Our aim is to advance from micellar solutions for organic reactions to enzyme-inspired systems by combining the superior catalytic performance of enzymes with a simple design and responsiveness.
Research activities include:
i) synthesis of amphiphilic water-soluble molecules, with pH-responsive and organocatalytic functionalities
ii) study of their self-assembly and co-assembly into tubular structures in water
iii) utilizing these supramolecular tubes for the catalysis of specific organic reactions based on the embedded catalyst

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